Using Timelines to Tell Stories on your Station's Website
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Hear from Jennifer Cook, Director of Communications at WUCF-TV in Orlando, Florida, as she shares her insight on using various free and accessible resources to improve online storytelling.

Image - WUCF Timeline.pngBefore working at WUCF, I ran digital strategy for a Florida 24-hour news network. I have learned MANY ways to tell stories online (for pretty much free) and I wanted to share those with you!

One of the greatest and underutilized resources in the journalism world is The Poynter Institute. If you are not familiar, read their mission statement: “The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalism. It is the world’s leading instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies.”

So really, that also applies to us here in the Public Media world as well. Poynter exists to train people in the media how to better communicate with the world around them. They teach in person from their Tampa-area campus, they travel to newsrooms around the country and they teach online in self-directed courses, group seminars, webinars, online chats and more.

One of the resources highlighted by Poynter is the Knight Lab project out of Northwestern University. This is basically a classroom of college journalists and developers who create technology to tell better stories. 

I started using one of their creations to tell WUCF’s story as the nation’s newest and fastest growing PBS station, by creating WUCF’s Interactive station timeline-- viewable towards the bottom of the page. Recently, WXEL also implemented a station timeline. Getting the Timeline to work is pretty simple, with your information pulling from a document on your Google Drive. Step-by-step instructions and more information about the open-source tool 'TIMELINE JS' can be found on Knightlab's website.

Each semester, new projects are added and others are updated and upgraded. With the resources from Poynter and these student projects, you can easily add some WOW to your station website!